Louisiana Accountability System Changes to Reflect Political Goals
Note to Readers: The following post by Herb Bassett traces the history of test-based accountability in Louisiana from 1999 to the present. Mr Bassett's analysis demonstrates that the grading and ranking of our schools and teachers based on student test scores is purely arbitrary and is constantly being manipulated by our State Superintendent to produce whatever results suits his objective at the time.
Several years ago reformers chose to portray a large number of our schools as failures so that there would be an excuse for "reforms" such as school privatization and reductions in teacher job protections. Now that the reformer policies have been in effect for a number of years, the testing data is being manipulated to demonstrate "improvement". But such alleged "improvement" is not supported by the results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests (NAEP). These test results show that since 2005, Louisiana students have achieved only small improvements in national test results, and have actually lost ground compared to all other states in three out of the 4 categories tested.
Test based accountability in Louisiana has failed to make any significant improvement in student performance. At the same time our students' futures have become more limited because of the increasing emphasis on college prep for-all, at the expense of vocational prep opportunities.
The scapegoating of teachers for low student performance that has been an inherent part of the reforms has demoralized and de-professionalized the teaching profession in Louisiana. Many highly respected teachers have retired early. Meanwhile the natural joy of teaching and learning has been replaced by a constant, dull, non productive, test-prep exercise with no end in sight.
Mr Bassett's analysis
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires us to revamp our school accountability system. As we decide what changes to make, we should examine our current status, take lessons from the history of our statewide tests, and recognize how politicized our accountability system has become. It is imperative that we bring nuanced understanding to the decision making process.
History warns that the results of a single summative measure can be shaped by political considerations.
My hope here is to restore history that John White has removed from public view and reveal the current strategy to produce an illusion of ever-improving student performance by changing the metrics. is to the GEE 21, LEAP/iLEAP, LAPARCC and EOC data I compiled for this study.
I. The politicization of the accountability system:
Louisiana set up its accountability system even before No Child Left Behind. The first school performance Louisiana Educator: Louisiana Accountability System Changes to Reflect Political Goals: